Pink Heart Society on things I've learned from writing romance novels. This isn't a repeat of that post, but bebe's been sick for the past few days, and her being sick has put a big, old, slowdown on writing. Because there are breathing treatments and medicine doses and doctor visits and game playing (because despite not feeling great, 8 year olds need entertainment when they are sick). I'm used to this. Those of you who know us, know that a couple of times a year her asthma flares up into a big, ugly coughing machine and it takes steroids and nebulizers and inhalers and antibiotics to get it back down.
When she was really little, I would sit with her and watch Mickey Mouse on TV or sing her songs...and I still do those things, but as she's gotten older (and more independent), she doesn't want Mom hovering over her while she dozes in the recliner or gets out her LEGOs to build something.
And so I've done what I've always done when I have little bits of time on my hands: I read. This particular spell, I've read some Mitch Albom, some Elin Hilderbrand, a little Nora, some Shirley Jump, and a favorite by Jane Porter. Romance, as you can see from the authors I mentioned, plays a big part in my reading - be that bebe-sick-time-reading or just-for-fun reading.
I read romances for a lot of the same reasons that I write romances: character, a good story, a little escape. It's easier to stay calm and repeat the asthma mantra of 'clear your throat, bebe...that's right, just slow down the breathing' when I've been able to escape the raspy, wheezy hack for a few minutes thanks to a book about a 40-something mom finding love the second time around, for example. That escapism is important, whether you're a mom sitting home with a sick kiddo or a busy executive who sits high in an office building all day. That escapism shows us what can be, makes us wonder about making different choices, and can even sometimes influences us to make changes to our lives.
I've made little changes, thanks to things I learned about in romances. For example, I always thought I hated pesto, but romance writers are forever feeding the characters in their books pasta, and so I finally tried pasta-with-pesto instead of traditional red sauce. You know what I found out? I like red sauce better...but pesto is good.
The biggest thing I've learned is how to listen to the people around me, and how to look past the actual words they are saying to what those words might mean. Romance heros and heroines talk - a lot. They talk more than they have sex, actually (some people refuse to believe that but the average romance has, what, three sex scenes? but it has innumerable conversations...so there). All that talking, all that dissecting and understanding and misunderstanding has taught me how listen in real life. And isn't that a great gift?
So while bebe is in recovery, I'm going to take these extra minutes to read some more. To fall into stories about love and friendship and growth. . .because are there any three things better than those?